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April 22, 2018

3 Breathtaking Pictures of Stacks of Lumber From the Early 20th Century You Won’t Believe They Aren’t Photoshopped

Logging was difficult and often dangerous work during the first half of the 20th century. From sunrise until sunset, loggers felled trees, hauled logs, and helped bring the wood to the mill site. In the evenings, they returned to dirty, drafty, and overcrowded bunkhouses. Many men spent between five and nine months in these camps, separated from their families. Although the food was plentiful, it was monotonous and many loggers became malnourished.

Of course, to an amateur like yourself, this probably looks like an incredibly dangerous and/or insane way to stack wood. And you’re right! In 1958, a single errant spark ignited the stacks in the mill and destroyed the whole lumber yard. The fire was so intense that hot up-currents of air carried 5-foot-long pieces of burning wood throughout the city, raining massive fiery chunks of death like the apocalyptic wrath of a vengeful god.

Another way to store all that excess timber that lumberjacks were frantically cutting down in those days was to use it to build ad-hoc railway bridges. The purpose of this bridge was to allow trains access to collect more logs...

Man standing beside tall stacks of lumber, Meadow River Lumber Company, Rainelle, West Virginia.

Stacks of lumber drying at the Seattle Cedar Lumber Manufacturing Company’s mill in Ballard, ca. 1919.

A man standing in the lumberyard of Seattle Cedar Lumber Manufacturing, 1939.


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